A “gastropub” is supposedly a cozy pub with good food.
Besides Bird Cafe, actually known more for food, the best example might be Social House.
The Dallas pub’s finally added a Fort Worth location this month, and the Currie Street restaurant has found a quick following.
Replacing the doomed Brownstone — too much of a bar and not enough of a restaurant — Social House strikes a better balance.
The menu offers simple steaks for less than $30, entrees like shrimp and grits, and a dry-aged chicken-fried steak or chicken-fried chicken for $13.95.
(Ask for the jalapeño cream gravy instead of the cracked-pepper gravy on the chicken-fried dishes. Or on anything, for that matter.)
Burgers come in eight styles, starting at $9.95 with fries. The menu offers 12 sandwiches, eight salads and six pizzas.
Brunch was packed Sunday for dishes such as a Guinness-braised short-rib hash or bananas Foster French toast.
(Warning: The “chilaquiles” are more like pulled-pork nachos.)
There’s even a $60 Valentine’s dinner.
Hearts and minds
Lots of Valentine’s deals still out there, but consider more than a dinner.
The Omni Fort Worth’s Valentine’s room package is offered for $239 and up now through Feb. 14, and a $52-per-person dinner in Cast Iron Feb. 13-14 will feature a choice of lamb, fillet of sole or a bone-in rib-eye for two, plus a red velvet dessert buffet. 817-535-6664, www.omnihotels.com/FortWorth
The Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel and Spa, Crowne Plaza Arlington and most other chain hotels also will offer dinner-and-a-room packages.
Book, or else
Cacharel Restaurant in Arlington still has some space for a $79 three-course dinner featuring chicken, salmon, roast duck on Grand Marnier sauce or a brandy-peppercorn tenderloin with Cacharel’s signature chocolate souffle; 2221 E. Lamar Blvd. (ninth floor), 817-640-9981, cacharel.net.
The Fred’s Texas North and Fred’s Texas TCU locations have gone to the dogs.
A new designer “Dawg of the Month” has joined Fred’s menu. Right now, it’s the “Ninja Dog” with a Kobe frank, wasabi-avocado queso, pickled Fresno peppers and fried tobacco onions.
Former Rodeo Goat chef Keith Grober is doing the special dogs while he cooks up new restaurant ideas. They’re only sold at the two newer Fred’s, open daily for lunch and dinner at 2730 Western Center Blvd. or 3509 Bluebonnet Circle; fredstexascafe.com.
Bud Kennedy’s column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com. 817-390-7538